Return to Oz

Australia: 7-31 January, 2007 

Time to escape the German winter!  

I didn´t need too much convincing when Daniel suggested that I take a "holiday" from being an unemployed German-as-a-foreign-language student in Berlin, while he attended an aerospace conference in Reno, Nevada.  I had spent the past five months mentally rehearsing my sentences before opening my mouth (and still managing to mix up the German cases and declinations), living on pumpkin seed bread and doing my best to play Hausfrau without having to touch Bratwurst or any other pork derivative.  On top of that, peddling to and fro against the increasingly icy wind to my language school, rock climbing lessons, yoga and pilates sessions, tennis training, and painting workshops required a fair amount of exertion.  What the heck I deserved a break (!), not to mention an extended dose of sunshine and fresh dark leafy greens.

Being a corporate frequent flyer in my previous life, the 25+ hour journey to the other side of the world didn´t faze me, though this is often one of the first excuses Germans give for not visiting Australia.  I had forgotten that flatbeds, priority seating and attentive service make being confined to such an electro- magnetically charged space for such a long time only just bearable.  Sitting in the very last row of economy by the window, faced with an unidentifiable lump in sauce that was my lacto-ovo-vegetarian meal, and trying to ignore the overweight Brit next to me whose arm kept sliding over to my side, drove me to overdosing on choc-chip cookies and Diet Coke.   

As we landed at Hong Kong International Airport, greeted by the peaceful view of mountains through the early morning haze, it struck me how much I missed trail running and climbing up those peaks.  Before getting too nostalgic, I remembered that the romantic atmosphere was probably attributable to the higher than WHO-recommended level of noxious gases in Hong Kong air.  

The first thing that dawned upon me when I arrived in Melbourne, was that it felt like I had never left.  Of course, in the following days I began to notice small differences.  Melbourne Sports Depot had closed down, many new stores and restuarants had sprung up, 90% of the population were wearing Havanas (rubber slippers/flip flops/thongs), and quite a few of my friends were no longer around, having joined the brain drain to London.  However the unpretentious yet cultured, multicultural and all-embracing vibe that I love about Melbourne had not changed, and the teachers at my favourite yoga school in Fitzroy still greeted me warmly.  But enough banter for now... see below for visual links.     

 

Sunburnt country 

 

 

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